science

Ascender of Chang’e-5 leaves lunar orbit, lands on moon

BEIJING, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) — The ascender of China’s Chang’e-5 probe departed from the lunar orbit under ground commands at 6:59 a.m. and landed on the moon at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday (Beijing Time), sources with the China National Space Administration said.

The ascender previously took off from the lunar surface and completed rendezvous and docking with the probe’s orbiter-returner combination in the lunar orbit.

After transferring samples collected on the moon to the returner, the ascender separated from the orbiter-returner combination on Dec. 6.

Tuesday’s maneuver marks the completion of the ascender’s mission, according to the space administration.

Deorbiting and moon landing of the spacecraft can prevent it from becoming space debris and affecting follow-up lunar missions of other countries, which is also an important commitment of China, as a responsible country, to the peaceful exploration and use of space by humankind, the administration said.

The Chang’e-5 probe, comprising an orbiter, a lander, an ascender and a returner, was launched on Nov. 24.

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